Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t see the trees for the forest”? That basically means you are too involved with the project to see it as others may. I fall directly into that category when the topic of backflow valves arises. I consider myself similar to a doctor, I’m a specialist. My specialty is wastewater or more specifically, backflow valves and the devices that collect or prevent wastewater or other fluids from entering a system. It’s easy for me to understand all the integral facts and parts to a plumbing system, but for those not directly involved it can be confusing. Today let’s discuss the basics of backflow valves.
Definition of a Backflow Valve (AKA, Backflow Preventers): A plumbing apparatus that enables water or fluids to flow in one direction, but will not allow the same fluids to flow backwards.
Valves and Preventers are like a one way street, you can only travel in one direction. Clean water enters, but dirty water (or any water) can’t flow back into the water source. This protects the water system, and everyone downstream, from potential hazards. Some valves are simply a check valve (often found on water heaters), designed to prevent the backflow of water from the heater, but often times these simple valves fail, envision a turnstile at the theatre or store, not hard to reverse your path.
Elaborate backflow systems are more often referred to professionally as preventers, valves can fail, preventers prevent! When working with a large volume of wastewater or fluids, the system must not fail, so an elaborate systematic series of preventers are installed. Envision the security at the airport; nothing gets through that’s not supposed to.
Your irrigation system should have a backflow valve installed if the water comes from a drinking (potable) source. All “Potable” water sources should have a backflow prevention system installed to avoid potential accidents and hazards. The Town of Mooresville requires the use of backflow preventers on users of the towns’ potable water.
If you are on the Town of Mooresville water system, you are required to have a backflow preventer/valve installed by a professional licensed plumber (like me). If you are unsure of your status, call me ASAP for an inspection.